Shopping & Services

  • Market: Bill Wisener

    The Store of Record

    The beat goes on. Can Bill's Records and Tapes? Bill Wisener does not know this story, because I've never told it to him; to others, meaning his friends and customers, I've repeated it often. It takes place not long after Wisener opened his eponymous record store on Spring Valley Road 25 years ago, which, as it turns out, is when… More >>
  • Best Custom Cowboy Hats

    Acid Cowgirl

    Attention, urban cowgirls. Are you looking for something to set you apart from all the other faux cowpokes at Dallas' current hottest hot spots? Well, if you're tired of seeing some skank gankin' your style, then check out Acid Cowgirl. These ladies take regular old cowboy hats and spruce 'em up real fancy. They have a variety of designs (all… More >>
  • Best CD store (used)

    CD Source

    We don't know how CD Source gets so many used copies of hot albums and sells them for less than 10 bucks a pop. Maybe it has something to do with the manager who's always sitting at the front of the store, staring at customers like a Mafia kingpin. Then again, we aren't the kind to question a good thing.… More >>
  • Best Specialty Bookstore

    Black Images Book Bazaar

    Ashira Tosihwe and Emma Rodgers started Black Images in 1977 as a mail-order business after they had experienced frustration finding books with positive images of black people for their own kids. Since then, Black Images has blossomed into 2,600 square feet of books, cards and incense specializing in stories and images of the African diaspora. Author appearances and panel discussions… More >>
  • Best Nursery for Native Plants

    Redenta's Garden

    The owners of this local, all-organic nursery chain call them "Redenta's 50," unique plants they grow themselves that are usually available only at their nurseries. Like teucrium cossinnii (creeping germander) and justicia spicigara (orange shrimp plant)--catnip to discriminating gardeners. In addition, Redenta's offers a great selection of herbs, native roses and perennials. The plants are always in good condition, unlike… More >>
  • Best Store Cat

    Maggie of Cat Connection

    Luxuriating on her Tiger Dreamz pet bed as you walk in the door of the feline-friendly shop is Maggie, regal store cat. The deed might say that Anne and Jay Horwitz are the owners of The Cat Connection, but as her bio on www.catster.com states, she is the co-owner. Ask them, and well, they won't exactly deny it. Her lush… More >>
  • Best Mexican Imports

    La Mariposa

    La Mariposa is Spanish for "butterfly," which is quite fitting for this Mexican imports store on Henderson Avenue. Butterflies are beautiful, delicate creatures admired for their vibrant colors and grace--much like La Mariposa. Upon entry into the shop, visitors are met with an array of bright colors. From the Talavera pottery to the Dia de los Muertos figurines, La Mariposa… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Tattooed

    Holdfast Tattoo

    In the world of tattoos it seems like there are two kinds of shops. There's the low-calorie, squeaky-clean place that specializes in Tweety Bird tattoos and belly-button piercing, and then there's the kind where if you're not well on your way to full yakuza regalia and your tongue is still in one piece, you're clearly not cool enough to breathe… More >>
  • Best Toymaker

    Phebe Phillips

    How could we pass up an opportunity to recognize someone known as the "Creatrice of Exquisite Soft Toys"? Gilmer, Texas, native and Southern Methodist University grad Phebe Phillips has designed and created the Phebe Phillips Company animals since 1983. Available at Neiman Marcus and on her website, these upscale plush babies (some price out at $175) come in the bunny,… More >>
  • Best Wax Job

    Make Scents

    Our neighbor thinks we bake all the time. On Sundays, he thinks we have a thorough house-cleaning regimen. It's doubtful he knows we have cats, not to mention a brimming litter box. Our neighbor can thank Gary Stone, owner and creator of the Dallas-based online store Make Scents candles for the aromatic front we put up. The hand-poured candles come… More >>
  • Best Video Store in the World, So Stop Asking

    Premiere Video

    If you've been here once, you know what we're talking about. If you've never been, well, sucker, you're probably still renting from Blockbuster Video (the ones still open, anyway) or using NetFlix (seriously, why?) or trying to get your rabbit ears adjusted on your black-and-white Philco. This is a serious place for serious cinephiles--a haven for import fetishists, a refuge… More >>
  • Best CD store (new)

    Good Records

    Some music stores are content to overwhelm with their massive selection, but in the Internet age, racks and racks of CDs aren't a big deal when Amazon.com's warehouse is a click away. Five listening stations dedicated to the new Mariah Carey album? Oh, you have overpriced DVD box sets in stock, too? Yawn. These days, the best stores understand what… More >>
  • Best Underground Comic Books

    Keith's Comics

    Every nerd at the Dallas Observer (and, man, for a hipster rag, this place is crawling with them) counts himself blessed to live in a town raging with toy, game and comic book stores. Most local comic shops deserve--and usually earn--Best Of awards for their various strengths, and even if Keith's Comics' best trait is a niche category, we'd commit… More >>
  • Best Bookstore (new)

    Borders Uptown

    Under what other roof in town would you find contemporary rocker Bryan Adams, Texas picker Jerry Horn and Queer Eye guru Kyan Douglas? All were special event guests at Dallas' newest Borders bookstore. Surrounded by the ultra-hip venues of the West Village, this store tried to do a story time for children but had to call it off because there… More >>
  • Best Bookstore (used)

    Paperbacks Plus

    OK, nobody really beats Half Price Books for selection, location, price, service--if that's the kind of stuff you care about. But don't you ever want to go into a place that just feels like an old ex-hippie East Dallas bookworm hang-out? Paperbacks Plus has been at or near its La Vista Court location for pretty close to 30 years, and… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Cebolla Fine Flowers

    Tight bunches of bright, sturdy, long-lasting flowers packed in fine glass or pottery vases--the hallmark of the Cebolla arrangement is its dramatic brilliance, and it won't droop before your dinner guests arrive. Cebolla (pronounced se-BOY-yah) also does elegant hatbands, head wreaths and chokers, if you're in an especially "horti" mood. Owners Luit and Jaime Huizenga can create door wreaths and… More >>
  • Best Totally Organic Everything Store

    Green Living

    You think you're organic? You have no idea what organic is till you come here. Do you wear earth-friendly clothes? Sleep on organic bedding? Use hemp hair care products, aluminum-free deodorant, recycled toilet paper, culture preservation tablecloths, an all-natural oven, buckwheat pillowcases, natural rubber mattresses? Do you have a green baby? Are your sisal baskets from a women's cooperative in… More >>
  • Best Health-Food Store

    Whole Foods Market

    You'd have to be socially responsible to the point of obsession to do your everyday grocery shopping at Whole Foods. Unbleached, recycled coffee filters that cost twice as much as the other kind probably aren't that appealing to fans of, say, a free, not to mention witty and urbane, weekly newspaper. But while organic may not be an everyday necessity,… More >>
  • Best Bicycle Equipment

    Plano Cycling & Fitness

    OK, look, we know. Richardson Bike Mart is bigger, and the prices on bikes and accessories are pretty much the same everywhere, so why not go with the perennial favorite? Here's why: We traded in our old Trek 1400 this year for a sleek new Specialized beauty. We shopped both places and found the prices were identical. The difference? At… More >>
  • Best Pond Supply

    Creative Water Gardens

    To block out the sound of a noisy neighborhood or nearby highway, there's nothing like a water feature. And to help you realize those fantasies about turning your backyard into a pond paradise, there's no place like Creative Water Gardens. The store stocks pumps, koi food and water additives, while the grounds offer a neat stroll through several pond set-ups… More >>
  • Best Tiny Trees

    Sunshine Miniature Trees

    It's kind of a mystery why intricately detailed dollhouses and elaborately laid-out train sets hold such fascination, but there's no doubt that people love things in miniature. Combine the unfathomable love of wee things with hipster America's general obsession with Eastern culture, and you'll understand why bonsai trees are simply adorable. Sunshine Miniature Trees has hundreds, possibly thousands, crowding their… More >>
  • Best Tree Trimmer

    AP Professional Tree Care

    You want two things from your tree-trimmin' folks: your limbs cut and your cut limbs hauled away. Simple as that. And if you can get it done at a reasonable price, so much the better, though we've been known to pay a little more to get a little more. Turns out with AP Professional Tree Care, you need not go… More >>
  • Best Green Wares

    Walton's

    "Make yourself at home," said a Walton's employee as we wandered through the humid, verdant outdoor plant display. And that's just what is so charming about Walton's--a feeling you can't get at a big-box garden center. It's like you're walking through a friend's garden, and boy, does your friend have an amazing selection of plants. From flowers to fruit frees,… More >>
  • Best Place for Paws to Pause

    Pooch Patio

    If your dog's wardrobe, bed, dishes and collars cost more than DISD's annual per child budget, Pooch Patio is not for you. This place is for the everydog: the four-legged fashionistas sporting Isaac Mizrahi for Target, the Saturday-morning dog park dachshund, the pug in the Passat whose mom wants to drop him off for day care and get her morning… More >>
  • Best Feed Bag

    Roach Feed & Seed Inc.

    There is a myth that farmers and ranchers just treat their livestock like, uh, well, livestock. But at places like Roach Feed & Seed Inc. (lovingly referred to as Roach's by customers in Garland), there seems to be a mindset that it is all right to feed and treat your animals better, and we fully agree. The wooden-plank floors creak… More >>
  • Best Dog Wash

    Dirty Dawgz

    You bring your muddy mutt in. They show the two of you to a booth equipped with a big hose and a squeeze bottle full of dog shampoo. You wash the beast. It's great. All of the stupid flapping and shaking and slobbering gets done within the confines of a nice metal stall instead of in your house or apartment… More >>
  • Best All-Around Vet

    City Vet

    We once left City Vet for a more "convenient" veterinarian, one that was closer to home. But we ended up coming back. City Vet has the hours, the friendly staff and the services that we wanted and needed. Convenience? You can drop off your pet before work and pick him up on your way home. Services? They offer standard animal… More >>
  • Best Fly Shop

    Blue Drake Outfitters

    Sure, theoretically you could fish for bass with a fly rod in the Trinity River. You could also fish for boots with a fly rod at the city dump. But what if you want to do some real fly fishing for trout on a gorgeous mountain stream like Robert Redford in A River Runs Through It? With a full string… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Tired

    Advantage Tire Pros

    Nothing is better than beating a tire to the blow-out. Because nothing is worse than that loud KABOOM! followed by the involuntary swerve, the maneuvering to the shoulder and the dance with traffic. Inevitably you're either trying to change the tire pinched between a guardrail and the car or ass-out to rush hour, praying you don't get taken out by… More >>
  • Best Small All-Around Mechanic Shop

    Lakewood Automotive

    You see a mechanic shop in a modest older building, it can mean one of two things. They're going to rob you blind, stick the air hose in your nose and make you squawk like a dime balloon. Or you have finally found the treasure for which every car owner's life is an endless quest--the honest mechanic who actually knows… More >>
  • Best Salvage

    Orr-Reed Wrecking Co.

    Don't wear sandals, and come ready to sweat and dig. Because at Orr-Reed Wrecking Co., they're stacking 'em deep and selling 'em cheap. Their specialty is architectural salvage, and you're likely to find a little bit of everything, including ancient gas heaters and clawfoot bathtubs. But the amazing thing is the number of doors of every shape, size and age.… More >>
  • Best Pawn Shop Atmosphere (tie)

    Village Pawn, Regent Jewelry and Loan

    Here's the thing about pawn shops--the inventory changes quickly and constantly. On Tuesday, you might be able to walk in and buy a Gibson Les Paul in near-perfect condition for a mere fraction of the original price. On Wednesday, you might venture back to that same pawn shop and find only a wrench covered in what looks like goo from… More >>
  • Best Wedding Stuff

    Michael's

    Sure, you can pay $100 for a ready-made veil or $500 to have your invitations printed. And if you have $600 just burning a hole in your pocket, send it immediately to us c/o our P.O. box. Didn't think so. Your frugality--er, your appreciation of good value--will lead you to Michael's, yep, the big-box craft store, where a creative bride… More >>
  • Best Head

    Romantic Headlines

    It's not every day a girl needs a tiara, but this Plano-based online wedding superstore offers more than 650 of them priced from $18 to $500. Still don't see the one you want? They'll custom-design it for you. Called "The Amazon.com of Bridal Headpieces and Accessories" by industry bible Cyberbride, Romantic Headlines doesn't stop with tiaras. They cover the bridal… More >>
  • Best Nuptials on a Budget

    TWU's Pioneer Package

    As a bride-to-be, you had best be prepared to take it hard. Not necessarily from your fiancé (that's negotiable), but from wedding service providers--florists, printers, dressmakers--who will gladly take advantage of you. Since many brides have a sky-high budget for their fairy-tale wedding, merchants don't blink at charging skyscraper prices. But if you're not looking forward to a five- or… More >>
  • Best Thrift for Handypersons

    Habitat for Humanity Outlet Store

    A good plan to make any thrift store trip less disappointing and more fruitful is to go in with a general idea of what you want (pants) rather than being set on a specific item (vintage Levi's 501s). The same applies to shopping for building and decor supplies at the Habitat for Humanity Outlet Store. If you're set on travertine… More >>
  • Best Furniture Store

    The English Pine Company

    So it's not really a store. After owning retail shops in East Dallas and Plano for more than 25 years, Harry Walker has been there, done that. But his well-earned retirement lasted only a couple of weeks. Now Walker's "showroom" is a barebones warehouse space in northeast Dallas, where he offers antique English pine furniture to designers and the public… More >>
  • Best Furniture for Thee

    Amish Furniture Showcase

    Yeah, yeah, we're just as excited about IKEA's opening as anyone else in North Texas. Woo-hoo, now we can have the same spindly bookcase and desk lamp that millions of other people have. We prefer our furniture handmade by hardworking people who appreciate quality and abhor vanity--and drive slow-moving, horse-powered buggies. We wouldn't seek out the Amish for a home… More >>
  • Best Home-Decorating Store

    IKEA

    What can we say? For years people have made road trips to Houston just to hit the big IKEA. Now we don't have to rely on the catalog or spend a night in the stinkhole of Texas for a little Scandinavian love. A tour through this expansive store proves that, yes, they did think of everything. Not only can customers… More >>
  • Best Place to Stock a Kitchen

    Ace Mart Restaurant Supply

    We just had our kitchen done, which essentially meant repainting old cabinets and replacing old appliances--fancy, huh? Best part of designing on the proverbial dime was going to the Ace Mart to replace old utensils. This monstrous store has everything you'd ever need, from tiny spoons to bowls the size of King Kong's left paw. They even have deep fryers… More >>
  • Best Exotic Home Furnishings

    Jaya

    A container from the Zheijiang province of China had just come in the last time we visited Jaya, bringing a huge shipment of village artifacts and unusual antique furniture. The geometric shapes and clean lines make it easy to incorporate Jaya's tables, china cabinets, desks and bookcases into any décor. But it's the unexpected one-of-a-kind pieces that keep collectors coming:… More >>
  • Best Used Furniture

    The Salvation Army Thrift Store

    Shopping at the Salvation Army is usually a hit-or-miss proposition. Those not too picky about the condition of their housewares will almost always find what they need, but shoppers hunting for hip, retro clothes often find plenty of retro with very little hip. Yet the Salvation Army store on Garland Road is a sure bet in one respect: For college… More >>
  • Best Arts and Crafts Furnishings

    Quaint Home Gallery

    For collectors of antique Mission-style furniture and accessories, this new store in Munger Place goes on the once-a-week, must-browse circuit. In addition to unique tables, settees and chairs, the Quaint Home Gallery offers lamps and other accessories in the Arts and Crafts style not seen everywhere else. In addition, they have a large selection of Arroyo Craftsman lighting fixtures, samples… More >>
  • Best Person to Put the Feng Back in Your Shui

    Linda Pennington

    Before we met Linda Pennington, we thought we had style, class, sophistication--all the things you think you have till you meet someone who actually has those things. After we had our kitchen updated, we quickly came to realize the rest of the house wasn't quite right--something about milk crates and cinder blocks and dorm-room living came to mind. So we… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store Not Named Elliott's

    Westlake Ace Hardware

    We love Elliott's as much as the next handyman. If only we were handy, but still. Yet it's almost too much of a good thing, a hardware store in which the hardware's getting short shrift. Around the time they started selling make-yer-own fudge, well, we decided we'd best look elsewhere for our everyday nail-hittin', pliers-pullin' needs. We love the Westlake… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon

    Matthew Tully Salon

    Obsessed with Bravo's hit show Blow Out and the upscale styling world of its weepy, tantrum-throwing owner Jonathan Antin? The atmosphere of hair guru Matthew Tully's Uptown salon isn't far off. The shop is a bit more Day-Glo and Tully doesn't boohoo as much in public. But that's a big plus. We like a man with scissors in his hand… More >>
  • Best Beauty Products

    BeautyFirst

    Are you a slave to product? Gel in your hair, polish on your nails, lotion on your skin--these are not luxuries, they're necessities. And they ain't cheap. Not at your level of use, anyway. If this sounds like you, BeautyFirst should be on your list. Aside from offering a hair salon and a wide array of product lines, BeautyFirst also… More >>
  • Best Place to Get a Haircut and Listen to Tupac

    Stylelabb

    So you're sitting there and the stylist is cutting your hair, and she doesn't know you and you don't know her and the silence between you she can't stand--you can, but she can't. She's got to talk to her clients. She must build a client base. "So," she says. "Have you seen any good movies?" Ugh. Sometimes we just want… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Pierced

    Ritual Body

    It's no longer a question what body part you'd like pierced--the best piercers in Dallas can do them all. The real question--well, wait, there are actually two questions that separate the best from the rest. How clean is the piercing parlor? And how helpful are they with customers? The first question, that's easy to answer. They all pretty much are.… More >>
  • Best Men's Barber

    Rob Vilarreal, Rob's Chop Shop

    Don't be put off by Rob Vilarreal's obsession with pompadours and lambchops. Sure, he prefers to put a little hepcat into your hairstyle, but he can handle just about any cut you can dream up, from high-and-tight to low-and-loose (OK, you come up with the opposite to high-and-tight). His tonsorial talents do come to the fore when retro is the… More >>
  • Best Place to Tan Your Hide

    Palm Beach Tan

    Everybody knows tanning contributes to skin cancer, premature aging and a host of other dermatological issues. But everybody also knows that looking tanned means looking good. So how are image-conscious Dallasites supposed to resist the temptation when there's a tanning salon on every freakin' corner? Answer: They don't. And the best fake-bake chain (and the place where "the Dallas Cowboys… More >>
  • Best Gift Store

    Urban Flowers & Gift Market

    To win this category, a shop has to cover several problem gift receivers. The frilly grandmother. The distant aunt. The whimsical uncle. The new sister-in-law. The tinkering dad. And of course, Mom. In previous years, maybe you've resorted to goofy gifts, giving tchotchkes that barely graze their interests. This year, Urban Flowers & Gift Market can help you give loved… More >>
  • Best Kids' Clothing (and Toys and...)

    Divine Consign

    Imagine a garage sale where the only things being peddled are top-notch kiddie clothes--the kind you hate to part with, even though Baby Junior hasn't been able to fit into his onesie for three years. Then imagine if that garage sale took place in an auditorium and was filled not only with one family's stuff, but the toss-outs of a… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Froggie's 5 & 10

    We hate getting older, but not for reasons most people think. We're fine with gray hair and, frankly, it appears as though the paunch is unavoidable. What really sucks is how, as the years pile on, it becomes less acceptable to play with toys. So we step into blissful Froggie's, where everybody's a kid. The friendly staff encourages you to… More >>
  • Best Kids' Book and Video Store for Cheap Bastards

    Dallas Public Library

    The stacks are packed at the local library--not only with the obvious kiddie classics, but with popular videos, too, among them everything the Wiggles have ever released. Better still, you can renew online, which means we still have our copy of Wiggle Bay some four months later, and it ain't overdue yet (far as we know). But the books are… More >>
  • Best Way to Mimic a Marsupial

    Hotslings

    In 2003, Kristen DeRocha developed something no parent (kangaroos excepted) thought was possible. She created a way to securely carry a baby and use both arms for another--or possibly two--tasks. Trial and error at her sewing machine finally produced the first Hotsling, a pouch-like holder for baby using no rings, snaps or fasteners. DeRocha, at the time a teacher at… More >>
  • Best Way to Spoil Your Kids

    mish MOSH

    As much as it may surprise some of our readers, the Observer is a kid-friendly place. We like 'em and sometimes they even stop by to hang out. Another surprise: We don't mind splurging on them every now and then--as long as the splurge is incredibly adorable. And that is exactly what Claudine Roberts offers with her handmade clothing line… More >>
  • Best Rich-Folk Toy Store for Poor Folk

    Learning Express

    Whenever the weather's lousy or we're just looking for something fun to do with Junior Boy that doesn't involve a rusty playground, we like to head over to the Learning Express toy store in Snider Plaza, where an hour can turn into an afternoon and you can escape without spending a penny if you play your cards (or trains) right.… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Stitches

    The Woolie Ewe

    If you couldn't tell two knits from three purls, the Woolie Ewe can help school you in the way of stitch witchery. At first glance, two pointy sticks and a ball of yarn don't seem to add up to much, but learn a couple of stitches (with the help of the Ewe's classes, book selection or mother/daughter owners Sue Tuley… More >>
  • Best Bangers, Beans and Sundries

    The British Emporium

    Anglophiles, unite! Join us for a trip just past the insipid wineries and knickknack pushers of "historic" Grapevine to discover a heaven rich with Earl Grey and black currant. Pop a Fruit-tella chew and say hello to owners Alexandra Evans and Sheela Kadam. While you're at it, thank them for a fine array of Heinz tinned baked beans and soups… More >>
  • Best Chocolate Indulgence

    Chocolate Secrets

    Chocolate is damn tasty and shopping is…well, honestly, who doesn't like to splurge on themselves every now and then? That's why we love Chocolate Secrets, a fantastic little chocolate shop on the northern edge of West Village. The store specializes in delicious concoctions like traditional truffles and fudge. There are fun pieces like rock chocolate and scrumptious chocolate-covered cherries like… More >>
  • Best Sweet E-mail Treat

    DailyCandy

    Every day we sift through the junk in our e-mail inbox: "Reduce Your Mortgage" (don't have one), "Plump Your Penis" (don't have one), "Trace Your Family Tree" (wish we didn't have one). Then we get to the sweet little morsel that is DailyCandy. This free e-mail newsletter and Web site keeps us in the know about all kinds of fun… More >>
  • Best Oak Cliff Coffee Spot

    Nodding Dog Coffee Company

    There's something about coffee that makes it so addictive. Oh yeah, the caffeine. And there's something about Oak Cliff that might make it seem impossible to find a decent cup of joe south of the Trinity River. Now people in the Winnetka Heights/Kessler Park/Cockrell Hill areas of the real OC don't have to look any further than the Bishop Arts… More >>
  • Best Computer Store

    Fry's Electronics

    You wanna buy a computer that looks purty and works? Go to the Apple store, you big sissy. Wanna cheap Windows PC? Go online and shop, you cubicle monkey. What we want is a machine of our very own, built by our own manly, geeky hand from the motherboard up, something that sneers at the godawful requirements of the latest… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up Sketchy Computer Freaks

    First Saturday Sidewalk Sale in the West End

    Started in 1969 as a get-together for ham radio enthusiasts, the sidewalk sale has had several locations, including under the Woodall Rodgers bridge between Routh Street and Central Expressway and in a parking lot on Ross Avenue. Under a bridge and in a parking lot? That's sketchy enough right there. Nowadays a good portion of the sale takes place at… More >>
  • Best Way to Get Car Stuff Done Without Going Anywhere

    C.A.R.S.

    Every time we get our oil changed, we wait in that little dingy lobby and feel like we're sitting outside the principal's office. We deserve a lecture. We've waited long past that whole three months/3,000 miles guideline because of the simple problem of scheduling. The problem is that on the way to work, the oil change places are packed, and… More >>
  • Best Gas Station

    Lakewood Texaco

    What makes a good gas station? Is it the functional stuff, like cleaning fluid for the squeegees outside, a well-stocked convenience store and clean restrooms inside? Lakewood Texaco has all that. So do a lot of other places. But owners Issa and Lena Boueri go the extra mile. They have an elaborate stone fountain and decorative landscaping. There's a redwood… More >>
  • Best Wine/Liquor Store

    Goody Goody Liquor

    Selection is good, prices are laudable, and the buzz hunt is pleasant. The reason? The setting. This old warehouse has lots of abused brick and mortar drips, giving it an old pub demeanor. Goody Goody Liquor Store used to be Marty's, which had been pumping the city's veins with culinary refinement since 1943. Now it smells like fresh lumber, filling… More >>
  • Best Outfitter

    REI

    Dallas has a long tradition of meaningless membership requirements, mostly because of antiquated liquor laws. But membership at REI outfitters is actually a tangible benefit. Your 15 bucks get you back 10 percent of your money at the end of the year, and they also help support REI's impressive wilderness conservation efforts. But the real benefit of REI is the… More >>
  • Best Rethreads

    Ahab Bowen

    Most of the hard part of shopping has been done for you at Ahab Bowen. The clothes here have been inspected for coolness at least twice, first by the original owner and second by the store's buyers. If you find something you like, the chances of having friends and acquaintances run screaming in horror are correspondingly small. Despite the arrival… More >>
  • Best Glad Rags

    Krimson & Klover

    Entrepreneurial sisters Kathryn and Kristin Anderson started this Soho-esque shop featuring up-and-coming designers two years ago in an old house near Uptown. The idea seems to be silky, lacy, colorful girly-girl clothes that make any damsel feel like flirting. Slip a soft shrug over a lacy camisole. Or pair a flowing tunic with embroidered vintage jeans. You'll also find one-of-a-kinds,… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Cheeky

    Mesho

    Designer T-shirts and their hefty price tags may confuse a certain subset of shoppers (you know the type--they're the same people who actually balance their checkbooks). Fifty-dollar T-shirts? What, are they dipped in gold? No, silly, but they are so cu-ute. Witness Cheeky tees, a line of T-shirts emblazoned with pithy sayings such as "Go Ahead and Stare," "Juicier" and… More >>
  • Best Lingerie

    Tres PINK Boutique

    The motto: "Think Women. Think Pink." Well, this boutique's merchandise is not necessarily pink, but it's definitely ultra-feminine underthings that any woman worth her push-up bra would appreciate. And any man who can't find a nightie or teddy here that his honey will not only adore but actually wear has been watching too many episodes of Nip/Tuck. Elegant silk nightgowns… More >>
  • Best Women's Shoe Store

    Heart & Sole

    In the fetish-inspiring shoe departments at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, finding glamorous, sexy, trendy or investment-worthy shoes is a breeze. But finding shoes you don't want to fling off your aching tootsies into a corner the moment you get home ain't easy. At this tiny shop tucked into the backside of Inwood Village, you'll find the biggest selection of women's… More >>
  • Best Women's Clothing Store

    Emeralds to Coconuts

    There's really no denying it--the mall sucks. Who wants to max out a credit card amidst the aroma of overpriced cinnamon rolls? So what's a woman in need of clothes to do? Her best option is Emeralds to Coconuts, a clothing/accessories/gift shop that will make a girl forget about all those other bad places. Emeralds' selection is diverse in style… More >>
  • Best Hour at the Beach

    The Massage Professionals

    OK, it's really a small room in an office building near Mockingbird Station. But work with us here. One wall is covered with a giant photograph of a lovely beach, complete with palm trees and pristine blue water. Artwork depicting a placid whale adorns another. Ask massage therapist Marci Novak to play the CD with the ocean sounds and turn… More >>
  • Best Men's Shoe Store

    Nordstrom

    There is a time to stand on principle, and that time ends when your feet begin to hurt. We don't like recommending chain stores or malls in this compendium of consumerism, but the shoes at Nordstrom are worthy of making an exception. The sheer variety would be mind-boggling if the friendly sales staff weren't so good at honing in on… More >>
  • Best Excuse for a Manly Man to Shop for Clothes

    Threads

    Threads has to be the only men's clothing store with a TV in the back hooked up to a PlayStation 2. You can play Madden all you want. Or drink beer. Threads has a bar. Or watch the game. Threads has a second TV forever tuned to ESPN. The owners of Threads, Michael Elliot and Charles Williams, are married to… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Men's Clothes, if You Can Afford Them

    Neiman Marcus

    There are plenty of cheaper places to buy clothes. God knows we can't afford to buy a suit at Neiman's, where the inexpensive stuff still comes in four-digit denominations. And there are hipper places, too. You wanna look like Euro-trash, by all means head over to one of those Euro-chic stores in the West Village. Neiman's has its share of… More >>
  • Best Turkish Bazaar

    Another Time & Place

    Exploring this tiny shop on Henderson Avenue is like burrowing into a Middle Eastern street market in search of handmade treasures. From their travels, owners Mehmet and Lisa Celik bring back things like Afghani wedding hats, elaborate headpieces of bright fabric, embroidery, beads and metal pieces that are individual works of art. Carvings from Africa, brilliantly colored ceramic platters from… More >>
  • Best Massage for the Masses

    Massage Envy

    Why should "ladies who lunch" be the only ones who get to enjoy a massage? Certainly, instructing a housekeeper, shopping at Prada and attending a charity gala make for a stressful day. But what about those of us who actually, uh, work all day? Whether you're employed in a cube farm or with a jackhammer, you deserve an oily rubdown,… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Virgin

    Chango Botanica Inc.

    Full of statues of Jesus, the Grim Reaper and the good ol' Virgin of Guadalupe, Chango's window displays have probably caused more than a few auto accidents. Located near the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff, this botanica is your one-stop shop for everything needed to practice Mexican Santeria, the hybrid faith of Catholicism and Pagan Afro-Cuban religion. You name… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Casket

    www.costco.com

    The ubiquitous big-box we-have-everything stores really don't have everything, and they may never, but Costco.com never quits thinking of how to better satisfy its customers. It carries caskets now. Ten kinds, ranging from $924 to $2,699. The manager at Costco in Dallas informs us his store, sadly, does not carry any of them but that an online delivery is as… More >>
  • Best Culture Club

    Counter Culture - CLOSED

    Counter Culture, a little vintage store that started out in Deep Ellum, also wins the award for Best Expansion. This spring, CC opened a second shop at Mockingbird Station--this one's a little more upscale, with a boutique-y feel--and we couldn't be happier. Not that we don't like the Deep Ellum version; we do, really. But sometimes MockSta is more convenient.… More >>
  • Best Frame-up

    3 Day Framing & Gallery

    The basis for this award is purely anecdotal: We had a framing project a while back that seemed quite simple in our mind--in concept, that is. The work it would require was not so simple; some would even call it tedious. But we wanted it done, and we wanted it done right. After being given the brush-off (and an outrageously… More >>
  • Best Place to Be Bead-dazzled

    Splendor in the Grass

    Stained glass windows, sparkling wind chimes, mosaic tiles, mirrored gazing balls--if it's colorful and glimmers in the sun, Splendor in the Grass has it. This Lakewood gift shop also hosts classes for budding "beading" artists. The two-hour classes in beginning bead-stringing and beginning earrings cost $25, which includes use of tools and beads for the projects. Choose from their selections… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Video Games

    GameStop

    Sure, you can buy video games almost anywhere these days, and the prices from store to store don't vary much. So, why GameStop? Two reasons: First, if you're just browsing and are wondering whether that game in your hand is any good, the clerks at GameStop most likely have not only played the game, but will give you an honest… More >>
  • Best Geek on the Cheap

    Zeus Toys & Comics

    Yes, we're somewhere between a quarter and half a century old and, no, we'd rather not discuss which we're nearer to. Despite our years of wisdom, our past spent studying tomes of philosophy and other generally impressive things, we love some good time just playing with our toys. Action figures, comics, dolls, you name it. It's just that, well, even… More >>
  • Best Store to List on Scavenger Hunts

    Half-Price Books

    Don't mind the employees' looks of dismay as a large, excited group of you and your posse come running into the store with a mission. You have to get the next item before the rest of your competition does! The vault that used to hold Sterling Jewelers' exquisite diamonds and pearls has now become Half Price's nostalgic National Geographic collection… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood for Garage Salin'

    M Streets

    First, a clarification: If you are one of those people who circles addresses in the classifieds Friday night, gets up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and fights over estate sale items with foam-at-the-mouth antique dealers, stop reading now. We are speaking to folks who simply like to piddle around on weekends in search of a bargain. Stay within… More >>
  • Best Music Snob Hideaway

    The Shake Rag

    When we drag friends to The Shake Rag on a given weekend, their reaction falls into one of two categories. The first is a squint-eyed "hmm" and a quick perusal of the store, acting as if they'd just gotten a bad sweater from Aunt Ethel. The second is helluva lot more appreciative, combing through the cherry-picked vinyl selection organized by… More >>
  • Best Doc for Old Singers

    The Sew & So

    Your Singer getting a little creaky? Can't find your zipper attachment? Perhaps you're just in need of a lube job, if you know what we mean. No, we're not being rude; we just think you need a reliable, honest place to get your sewing machine worked on. The Sew & So, located near the downtown Garland square, is the place… More >>

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